OSLO, Minn. — As water continues to cover routes in and out of Oslo, postal workers are having to hitch a ride to get into the next town over.
The Red River city of over 300 people is surrounded by water, but the mail is still being delivered — with the help of the Minnesota National Guard, deployed to the city last weekend by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to assist with the flood fight.
"We've been shuttling people in and out," said Pfc. Luther Newton. “I didn't think it'd be delivering mail at all, but you've got to do what you've got to do."
Minnesota Highway 1 — the route on the east side of Oslo — is still under water, and twice this week troops have met mail carriers to help them reach the town.
"I didn't think when I started that this would be part of the job qualifications, to ride in the back of a truck,” rural letter carrier Harlan Boman said of the big troop carrier trucks used by the National Guard to get in and out of flood-isolated Oslo.
It's the first year the guard has helped the United States Postal Service deliver mail in Oslo, which is no stranger to becoming an island. But with tax deadline this past Monday, people in town had to get their mail out.
"We needed to get in here, get those post marked and back so they could get it out without a delay," said Boman.
And so, with the help of the guard, April 15 came and went without a problem.
Troops are still in town to help, even if it includes some deliveries. Some soldiers said it's been their favorite part of their stay.
Mail in rural areas around Oslo will be delivered as long as carriers can reach the property, but if not, residents will likely have to wait until the water goes down again.